there is something really amazing and touching about coming home to a bunch of cheering children. i've done nothing particularly spectacular yet they treat me like i have. it really gets to me and makes me want to work my ass off to try and help and empower them to create a change in their lives. as ridiculous as it sounds to say/ask, "WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN?" it really is about the children.
today (sunday) was luma day in birkelane and JC and i had arranged to meet up there. what i really love about being a PCV is that living is work. there is no 9 to 5, my very existence in this country is the job in and of itself. i like that and while i know that one day i will probably get stuck in some kind of version of the bureaucratic 9 to 5, its nice to have this freedom and opportunity now in my life.
what i mean is that today, going to the luma, meeting up with JC, and going and greeting and chatting and visiting people that talla had introduced me to last sunday, is my job. it was so much fun but also exhausting -- constantly talking, answering questions, coming up with witty comebacks/remarks (in a different language, no less), and walking around, through, in front of, behind, next to the market from 10AM to 5PM (i am not senegalese enough to apply the "do nothing from 12 to 4" rule).
we visited people all over birkelane and it felt really great walking around town and having people to visit and see -- actual friends! i know so many people now and i'm starting remember names and faces. i'm also starting to make my own friends, not just the people that i know through talla. he was actually quite impressed at some point when we met up for a little bit and somebody that he didn't know greeted me. i just can't believe that this is my job: eating a watermelon slice as big as my face and chatting with the gendarmerie or sitting in somebody's house bantering about why i don't need a husband or having a soda in Chom's butig and talking about why the cows have stopped giving milk (something to do with the dry season?).
to think, i could be stuck behind a desk typing away in an air conditioned building! well for now i choose sweating in the scorching sun in the middle of a cow herd repeating the one pulaar* phrase i know ("i don't speak pulaar") and somehow by doing that, i'm making people laugh and thus, making friends with everybody. everyday i feel like this is my home more and more and the language is slowly coming together.
talk about sunday being a day of rest! ha! i'll be there every sunday making my rounds and doing my job aka LIVING.
*senegal is composed of several ethnic groups (for example, i live with wolofs and am learning to speak wolof) and pulaars are one of these ethnic groups. while most pulaars can speak wolof they have their own language (and several variations of it) and it just so happens that even though i am wolof, i have a pulaar-esque last name (ka) so i get teased by pulaars a lot